YOGA TO HELP WITH BACK PAIN…

Yoga is based on rhythm and breathing rather than core strength, so it’s useful for relaxation and stress. There are lots of different types of Yoga available today but some good ones for pain are Bikram Yoga, Yin, Iyengar Yoga and Glow Yoga.

Bikram Yoga is a unique series of 26 Hatha Yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises, performed in a heated room to enhance your stretching. It covers a series of postures which have been scientifically designed to work every part of the body in the correct order. The heat facilitates stretching, prevents injury and promotes sweating, which aids detoxification.

Yin Yoga is a yoga for the joints that stretches the connective tissue. It is a very distinctive style of Chinese yoga, which some believe is the oldest form of Hatha yoga. Yang exercises work your heart and muscles and the exercises are floor-based. Lying down can immediately relax your body and unlike other Yogas, you hold your posture for up to ten minutes. It has been said to feel like ‘peeling off layers of tension’.

Iyengar Yoga is perfect for people who feel ‘stiff’. It’s the safest and most effective way to stretch your whole body and improve your flexibility. It’s characterised by great attention to detail and precise focus on body alignment with the use of ‘props’, such as cushions, benches, blocks and even sand bags.

There are more than 200 deep poses, which you work towards holding for up to two minutes, which make it great for lengthening your muscles. They say it is a perfect type of yoga, if you’ve got a muscular or joint injury. With so many different types of Yoga available, it gets a bit confusing as to which one to choose, but it’s really a case of try one, then try another.

Healthline have an article with the ten best yoga poses for back pain, but please don’t try these if you have never done yoga before, check with your GP then try a class with a fully qualified instructor.

Another company Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs has a video you can watch on specific yoga moves for lower back pain. On the NHS website they also have an article on how ‘yoga may improve back pain’.

The British Wheel of Yoga website has lots of information about Yoga and the 30th OM Yoga Show which takes place 18th/19th & 20th October.

My book of choice would be ‘Yoga Therapy: A Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Yoga and Ayurveda For Health and Fitness’, by A G Mohan.

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TREAT YOURSELF WITH ACUPRESSURE FOR LOWER BACK PAIN…

If you are suffering from lower back pain then according to Science Daily you could treat yourself using acupressure.

A recent study found that people with chronic lower back pain who performed self-administered acupressure experienced improvement in pain and fatigue symptoms.

Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but instead of needles, pressure is applied with a finger, thumb or device to specific points on the body and while acupressure has been previously studied — and found to be beneficial — in people with cancer-related or osteoarthritis pain, there are few studies that have examined acupressure in people with back pain.

In the study, published in Pain Medicine, the research team randomly assigned 67 participants with chronic low back pain into three groups: relaxing acupressure, stimulating acupressure or usual care.

“Relaxing acupressure is thought to be effective in reducing insomnia, while stimulating acupressure is thought to be effective in fatigue reduction,” says Susan Murphy lead author of the study.

Participants in the acupressure groups were trained to administer acupressure on certain points of the body, and spent between 27 and 30 minutes daily, over the course of six weeks, performing the technique.

Participants in the usual care group were asked to continue whatever treatments they were currently receiving from their care providers to manage their back pain and fatigue.

“Compared to the usual care group, we found that people who performed stimulating acupressure experienced pain and fatigue improvement and those that performed relaxing acupressure felt their pain had improved after six weeks,” Murphy says.

“We found no differences among the groups in terms of sleep quality or disability after the six weeks.”

Murphy notes that chronic pain is difficult to manage and people with the condition tend to have additional symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbance and depression.

“Better treatments are needed for chronic pain,” Murphy says. “Most treatments offered are medications, which have side effects, and in some cases, may increase the risk of abuse and addiction.”

She says this study highlights the benefits of a non-pharmacological treatment option that patients could perform easily on their own and see positive results.

“Although larger studies are needed, acupressure may be a useful pain management strategy given that it is low risk, low cost and easy to administer,” Murphy says.

“We also recommend additional studies into the different types of acupressure and how they could more specifically be targeted to patients based on their symptoms.”

Source : Michigan Medicine University of Michigan and Science Daily

HOW TO PREVENT BACK PAIN WHEN DRIVING…

The Foray Motor Group have written some of the best tips on how to prevent back pain when driving. It includes some of my own tips and others from Back on site, and Active Backs.

The main top tips include :

Tips for avoiding back pain while driving

  • Make sure your car is road worthy
  • Adjust your sitting position
  • Utilise lumbar support
  • Use heated seats
  • Be careful getting in and out of the car
  • Ice your back
  • Take regular breaks

“If your car happens to have heated seats, it’s definitely a good idea to make good use of them in your quest to prevent back pain. Heat has the great benefit of relaxing tight joints and muscles, helping blood flow to the area applied to, and therefore relieving pain. So next time you are out on a long drive and perhaps are starting to feel a little uncomfortable, consider turning that seat on. Barbara McLullich from Back Pain Blog – the personal journey of a chronic back pain sufferer – offers this advice: “I am a true advocate of heat while travelling so if your car does not have heated seats then buy a heat pad to pop on your back. You can buy these from a chemist and most last up to eight hours. Also, have some heat pads ready to use after your journey.”

Be careful getting in and out of the car

Another important thing to consider is the simple fact of how you get in and out of the car as this can have ramifications for your back health. Explaining what to be aware of and how you can help yourself, Barbara from Back Pain Blog says: “Pay attention to how you get in and out of the car. Sit down facing the door and swing both legs into the car. Getting out is the reverse. If this is too uncomfortable to do, you can buy swivel cushions to help you turn around.”

PLEASE OFFER ME A SEAT AVAILABLE IN CERTAIN AREAS…

In the event that you battle to stand while using open transport, there is a free identification badge which enables you to alarm others that you need a seat.

A considerable number of people have conditions or a sickness but have nothing to show about there condition are in need of a seat on all forms of transport. With this badge you don’t have to clarify your purpose behind the badge but you should be offered a seat.

Around 78 per cent of people who carry the TfL badge say that they now find it a lot easier to get a seat on the bus or Tube. But this is a London-centred scheme. With more than one in six people in the UK have an ‘activity limiting’ condition, accounts from across the UK generally paint a picture of inaccessibility and discomfort on public transport for those with invisible conditions.

If you see someone with a badge or card and you are seated, they say you should stand and offer them your seat. While there are priority seats on public transport, they would like to encourage all customers in any seat, to be considerate and offer their seat to those that are less able to stand.

I am surprised it has taken so long for this to be developed but just reading the difference it has made to people suffering from MS, cancer, being pregnant, to name a few. I just hope it won’t be long before other councils follow suit. If your council has launched this please let us know in a comment for others to take advantage of it.

Not all local councils cover this badge but it might be just worth writing to yours if you cannot find anything online. The ones I found were London, Greater Manchester, and Network West Midlands.

THREE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BACK PAIN…

1. Acute Pain

Acute Pain is a pain that lasts less than 3 to 6 months, or pain directly related to tissue damage. This is the type of pain caused by a paper cut or needle prick. Other examples of acute pain are like labour pains, the pain is acute and identifiable.

Acute low back pain is defined as a pain present for up to six weeks. It could feel like an aching, stabbing, burning, or dull pain. The actual intensity of this type of low back pain could range from mild to severe and could fluctuate or move to other areas of your body like your hip or thigh area.

2. Chronic Pain

Chronic pain describes pain that lasts more than three to six months, or beyond the point of tissue healing. Chronic pain is usually less directly related to identifiable tissue damage and structural problems. Chronic back pain without a clearly determined cause, failed back surgery syndrome (continued pain after the surgery has completely healed), and fibromyalgia are all examples of chronic pain. Chronic pain is much less well understood than acute pain.

Chronic pain can take many forms, but is often described as a pain with an identifiable cause, such as an injury. Certain structural spine conditions, including degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis, can cause ongoing pain until they are successfully treated.

3. Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain could be placed in the chronic pain category, but it has a different feel than chronic musculoskeletal pain. The pain is often described as severe, sharp, lightning-like, stabbing, burning, or cold. The individual may also experience ongoing numbness, tingling, or weakness. Pain may be felt along the nerve path from the spine down to the arms/hands or legs/feet.

It is thought that the pain is caused by damage or disease affecting the somatosensory nervous system. Neuropathic pain may be associated with abnormal sensations called dysesthesia or pain from normally non-painful stimuli (allodynia). It may have continuous and/or episodic (paroxysmal) components.